Covanta pursues open-market power sales for Massachusetts plant

Covanta Haverhill Associates LP, because it has lost a contract to sell power out of a waste-to-energy plant in Massachusetts, applied Oct. 29 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approvals it needs for open-market power sales.

It asked FERC for: acceptance of its initial FERC Electric Tariff under which Covanta Haverhill may engage in sales of wholesale electric energy, capacity and/or ancillary services at market-based rates; the grant of certain blanket approvals; and waiver of certain commission regulations.

Covanta Haverhill is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Covanta Energy, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Covanta Holding. Covanta Holding, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is engaged in the energy and insurance businesses through its subsidiaries. Covanta Holding’s indirect energy subsidiaries develop, construct, own and/or operate projects for the conversion of waste to energy and independent power production both domestically and abroad.

Covanta Haverhill owns the Haverhill Resource Recovery Facility, a 45-MW waste-to-energy small power production qualifying facility (QF) located in Haverhill, Mass., within the ISO New England balancing authority area. Until June 2013, Covanta Haverhill sold the output of the Haverhill Facility to New England Power (NEPCO) under a long-term agreement on file with the commission.

On the same site as the Haverhill Facility, Covanta Haverhill also owns and operates a 1.6-MW landfill gas-fired QF, the output of which Covanta Haverhill sells into the wholesale markets administered by ISO-NE. Both the Haverhill Facility and Covanta Haverhill’s landfill gas-fired facility are operated by Covanta Haverhill Inc., the general partner of Covanta Haverhill.

In June 2013, in a negotiated contract restructuring, Covanta Haverhill and NEPCO terminated the long-term agreement. As a result, Covanta Haverhill began selling the output of the Haverhill Facility into the wholesale markets administered by ISO-NE. Covanta Haverhill’s sales have been at ISO-NE market rates and Covanta Haverhill said it has been a price taker.

“Due to administrative oversight, Covanta Haverhill did not file to obtain market-based rate authority prior to the early negotiated termination of its long-term grandfathered QF contract several months ago,” the company told FERC. “As a result, Covanta Haverhill does not presently have a market-based rate tariff on file with the Commission. Covanta Energy’s internal and external attorneys are working to implement improved internal communications and information procedures to ensure that Covanta Energy’s operating companies and operations employees fully understand the types of wholesale power sales their units are authorized to make presently and also fully understand when additional authorization must be sought before changing the way the output of a QF is sold. In order to facilitate Covanta Haverhill’s continued and future participation in the ISO-NE market, Covanta Haverhill hereby submits for filing the Proposed Market-Based Rate Tariff.”

Covanta has interests in many other waste-to-energy plants

Included in the Oct. 29 filing is a long list of waste-to-energy power plants around the U.S. that are affiliated with Covanta. For example, there are:

  • Covanta Bristol, which owns and operates a 16.3 MW qualifying small power production facility located in Bristol, Conn.;
  • Covanta Co. of Southeastern Connecticut, which owns and operates an approximately 17 MW qualifying small power production facility located in Preston, Conn. This company has exempt wholesale generator (EWG) status and sells its output to Connecticut Light & Power pursuant to a long-term agreement;
  • Covanta SEMASS LP, which owns a 90% general and limited partnership interest in SEMASS Partnership. SEMASS Partnership owns and operates the SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility, an 80 MW waste-to-energy facility located in West Wareham, Mass. SEMASS Partnership has EWG status and sells the output of the facility under long-term agreements on file with the commission; and
  • Covanta Springfield LLC, which owns and operates Pioneer Valley Resource Recovery Facility, a 9.5 MW qualifying small power production facility in Agawam, Mass.




About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.